Honda Campaign Shows How Opposites Attract

Honda CR-Z Sport Hybrid

Honda has launched a national ad push with a yin-yang feel for its newest vehicle, the CR-Z sport hybrid. The campaign, via RPA, centers on the fact that the car embodies both sport and hybrid characteristics.

Targeting youthful 25- to-35-year-olds, it uses 3D technology for in-theater, print, events and interactive elements. Honda says that on Sept. 23 it will be the first 3D advertiser in New York's Times Square. The company will have street teams giving out 3D glasses to view the spot, plus CR-Z displays, photo activity with 3D backdrop and on-site Sony racing simulators featuring Sony's "Gran Turismo 5" game, which features CR-Z. Honda is also running billboards in its top 10 markets for the car*.

The TV creative elements show opposites together: the spots are "Fire & Ice" in 30- and 15-second forms, and "Eclipse," which is both a TV spot and in-theater 3D ad. The ads first aired at the end of August on MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) promotion. On Sept. 12, both spots will air during the VMA telecast, and the pre-show will feature a CR-Z red-carpet appearance. The VMA pre-show will also include a live red-carpet performance on the Honda CR-Z Stage by hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj, per Honda.



The TV ads go into national rotation on Sept. 13 on network prime premieres, including "Amazing Race," "Chuck," "Dancing with the Stars," "Gossip Girl," "Modern Family," "Raising Hope" and "Two and a Half Men," and will air on cable and sports, says the Torrance, Calif.-based automaker.

The 3D cinema spot, "Eclipse," is set to run through the fourth quarter in movies like "Resident Evil Afterlife," "Saw VII," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," "TRON: Legacy," "Piranha 3D" and "Gulliver's Travels."

As for print elements, Maxim will publish its first-ever 3D issue featuring a 3D cover story, co-branded 3D glasses, and a 3D phantaglyph CR-Z print ad. Honda says the phantaglyph technology "makes images more dimensional and realistic-looking. Instead of floating off the page, the CR-Z looks like it is sitting on the page." The print execution will drive traffic to a Honda 3D online destination.

Tom Peyton, Honda's senior manager of national advertising, tells Marketing Daily that the CR-Z launch presented an opportunity to test new advertising technology. He says that because of the car's visually striking aspect, "this is such a great car to do it with." He says the 3D campaign in Maxim is particularly unusual because the technology -- phantaglyph -- is utterly new. "[RPA] They came to us and asked if we wanted to do a 3D in Maxim, but almost all of those kinds of ads tend to look fuzzy. But then they showed it's just in the CR-Z ad, and it was incredible."

He says the car is deserving of such a large campaign because it offers something different for a segment that hitherto has been about practicality rather than adrenalin. "This sport/hybrid system is a first, so we felt we had carte blanche to try to do things differently," says Peyton. "We came up with 11 or 12 breakthrough concepts, including a new digital brochure." He says the company is aiming to sell around 15,000 of the cars per year initially.

Niche magazines ads will run in Good, Surface and Intersection as well as mainstream magazines like Elle, ESPN The Magazine, Marvel Comics, Rolling Stone, Us Weekly and auto buff books.

Online, and on other digital platforms, Honda will run CR-Z ads on the Wired iPad application in the October and November issues, and the automaker says CR-Z will sponsor an Entertainment Weekly "Must List" iPad app whereby editors pick the 10 things "you need to see, hear or read every week," per the company.

Honda says it will do CR-Z takeovers on Yahoo, YouTube, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, USA Today and Washington Post sites. And there is going to be a CR-Z-sponsored Facebook game called "Car Town" that has CR-Z billboards, a CR-Z showroom where a video wall showcases a CR-Z spot and a custom activity that will remain in the game after the campaign's conclusion.

In October, Honda will sponsor a first-ever online video awards program from Vimeo. Honda CR-Z will sponsor a video project that will be displayed on the Frank Gehry-designed IAC building on New York's West Side.

Also new with the car is Honda's first-ever interactive digital brochure and downloadable app.

* Editor's note: The story was amended post-publication.

1 comment about "Honda Campaign Shows How Opposites Attract ".
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  1. Marlene Pappas from MDP Media & Internet, September 9, 2010 at 2:28 p.m.

    Not only does RPA continually plan the most integrated and creative campaigns with the latest technology, they are also, in my opinion, the best ad agency in LA to work at. I have freelanced at many agencies in media, and if I were a client, I'd hand my account to RPA.

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